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Thoughts That Only Go Through the Heads of MW Students

In my pursuit if one of the rarest and most difficult certifications in the world of wine, very often I am struck by the absurdity of some of my thoughts if I wasn’t totally engrossed in my Practical exam studies. I’ve decided to share some below that I’ve experienced but feel free to add others from your studies.

“Don’t go down the Riesling road, Don’t go down the Riesling road!”
- 4 wines, Same variety question, all white, different countries. Upon sensing a slight bit of Petrol on wine 1.

“Am I going to look like an idiot if I funnel Italy here?” – Trying to funnel possible old world origins of Bordeaux varieties when it is obviously Bordeaux.

“Which one has the screaming acid?” – when presented with 2 or more dubious brown colored wines with high alcohol.

“What’s the best justification between Colchagua and Maipo here?” – After getting to Chile justifying the origin “as closely as possible.”

” Ah ha! Bug spray!” – on my personal marker for Torrontez

“Just start writing SOMETHING!” – my thought during the exam in 2013 Paper 1 which contained 12 wines that were all frustratingly neutral

“I LOVE White Zin!” – upon finding a white Zinfandel on any blind tasting I’ve ever done! It’s so easy to pick out.

“I hope people don’t think I actually drink all these!” – On the number of open wine bottles at any given point in my kitchen.


This was NOT a staged photo as evidenced by the super messy counter and yes that IS 15 bottles on my counter.

You might be a Master of Wine student if….
- You have ever had an in depth serious conversation regarding the pros and cons of different pen designs.
- You’ve ever said “Bring it” in response to someone offering to pour you a blind wine.
- Friends and your mentors are randomly sending you tasting notes via email with no other correspondence as if to say “You know what to do.”
- Your family asks “Where are you tasting this weekend?” rather than “What are your plans this weekend.”
- You know the statistical frequency of any main variety that has shown up on the exam.
- The results of a practice exam can either make or break your mood for the week.
and lastly, if your life has been utterly taken over by the exam and you wonder what you will find to do with all this time once you pass.

Please add your own thoughts in the comment sections! Crazy loves company!

Storm Chasin’ (or Avoiding as the case may be)

This weekend I’ve been tracking winter storm Titan. I left San Francisco while it was pouring last Friday morning and flew to Tennessee.

My flight over the mid-west on the way to Tennessee.

On Saturday I was part of a great event that raised funds for the children of Hamblin County through an organization called HC Excell. The local newspaper covered my visit here. It was great to be a part of this event and introduce the Robert Mondavi Winery wines to family and friends. My Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, and my cousin Laura (who had invited me to be the special guest of the evening) were all in attendance. I was supposed to fly to St. Louis yesterday but Titan was coming east and had settled over St. Louis. I ended up driving over the Appalachian Mountains to Charlotte to fly to St. Louis on Monday morning instead of following my itinerary to Philadelphia and avoided certain entrapment due to the storm.


When I arrived in St Louis it was not as bad as was advertised on the news but winter is holding stubbornly on to the city. Our visits to retailers were walking over a crust of ice and a dusting of snow.


Tonight I attended the kick off party for another great cause called Restaurants for Restoration. It is a program in St Louis that benefits the Forest Park, a larger city park than NYC’s Central Park and the site of the 1904 World’s Fair as well as a Summer Olympics in its past. One of the pictures from the event was on Twitter here
Tomorrow, I finish my trip in St Louis and head back to California. I have been so excited to be a part of these great events that are doing so much to give back to the community. Hopefully Titan will let me travel with out detour.

12 Days of Christmas Broken Down

This blog post is brought to you by 3:30pm Bay Area traffic trying to get over the Bay Bridge. My husband and I were listening to Christmas music and the 12 Days of Christmas came on. We started discussing the ramifications of actually receiving the entire list of gifts and decided it was not only impractical but down right rude of one’s true love to give such gifts. The complete list of what you would end up with is below with our comments and suggestions for a suitable alternative.

12 Partridges in 12 Pear Trees
Ok. Not such a bad start. Partridges are cute and small and fun to watch run around. The pear trees are a bit more challenging but assuming one has some land on which to plant them not insurmountable. Especially if one’s true love has had the foresight to send different varieties each day. If you like pear flavors though a far more suitable gift would be 12 bottles of Prosecco.

22 Turtle Doves
Your true love apparently is operating under the assumption that you will enjoy birds. It is a recurring theme. Turtle doves are very romantic, soft, gentle and cute but 22 is a bit excessive. I suggest a Pinot Noir, soft, gentle, and far less guano.

30 French Hens
This begs the question what differentiates a French Hen from any other hen. At least the hens, unlike the turtle doves, could lay eggs and bring some sort of usefulness. This gift also assumes you have a coop and hen house to keep the hens in but if you’ve already planted the 12 pear trees you probably have enough room for the coop. If you want to keep with the French countryside theme of the hens I would recommend going for a wine from Provence or the southern Rhone. 30 Chateauneuf du Pape bottles would be ok by me. *According to Google, French hens originate from Northern Central France so maybe 30 bottles of Sancerre or Chinon would be more appropriate.

36 Calling Birds
I can’t think of anything more annoying than 36 calling birds. At this point I would be re-questioning one’s true love’s motives. Maybe these would be best released into the wild unless you have quite a few acres that you could install a bird house after you’ve planted pears and built a hen house ( which hopefully your true love helped you build). When I picture calling birds, I picture exotic parrots, so an appropriate alternative might be 36 bottles of Torrontes from Argentina.

40 Gold Rings
Finally, a practical gift! Given the price of gold is at $1,217 per oz. I’d keep this one. Alternatively 40 bottles of Sauternes or Tokaji might be a little easier on the wallet.

42 Geese a Laying
Again with the birds and these are coming already laying! Make room next to the hen house! Of course you’ll probably need a lake for the geese. At minimum, a small pond. Good thing you’ve got a TON of land. What’s a good wine alternative to renting a backhoe and digging a large hole in your back yard? 42 bottles of Barrossa Valley Shiraz.

42 Swans a Swimming
They come swimming??? What do they come in? A large pool? Maybe we should rent the backhoe after all? On the upside, swans are elegant and graceful. Maybe 42 bottles of Russian River Chardonnay would be more appropriate.

40 Maids a Milking
If they come milking, what are they milking? Cows, goats, or sheep? Maybe a mix? Apparently you now need a barn and are going into the cheese business but at least you have help with the milking. If you would like a milky wine alternative I would go with something with a lot of lees stirring. 40 bottles Muscadet or Chablis would be preferable to the livestock in my opinion.

36 Ladies Dancing
Seriously? Isn’t your house crazy enough with all the animals? You don’t need 36 random women chasseing their way through the hallways. If you want a dancing wine I’d go with something from the bubbly category. 36 bottles of Champagne sound good to me! You are going to need it after tending your flocks.

30 Lords a Leaping
Perhaps they can keep the ladies and the maids company? Hopefully they have strong backs to help dig the pond. A better solution? 30 bottles of a full, rich Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux or Napa fit for a Lord.

22 Pipers Piping and 12 Drummers Drumming
So a Highland Pipe Band just marched in. I’m sure the birds went crazy at that! On a good note, the music is great to drown out the calling birds, clucking hens, and quacking geese. If you need briskness and high toned flavor I’d go with 22 bottles of Riesling and for the beating drum after dinner nothing beats a few nice bottles of fortified wines! A mixed case of Port, Sherry, Madiera and the like would do nicely and round out the end of a very nice and diverse wine cellar for which you could gratefully thank your true love!